My Kindle case

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


This post is not about writing, but it is about reading, specifically reading ebooks, which we all produce when we self-publish. I have a kindle for reading ebooks, and recently, I bought myself a new kindle case. I wanted to protect my device, and I also wanted something pretty to look at. Here is the picture of my case closed.


I like the curly golden accents embossed into the case’s black faux leather. They make it look like a cute notebook. Truth to tell, it is not really a kindle case. It was advertised for Kobo e-readers, but it fits my kindle perfectly. I tried a dedicated kindle case, bought it on Amazon according to all the size specifications, but I couldn’t fit my kindle into it. I had to send it back.

This one has those corner rubbers you fit your device’s corners into, like an old photo album. I’m loving it. This is how it looks when I open it.

How about you? Do you use a dedicated case for your device? Is its appearance important to you?

Posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

WEP Apr 2023 – Life is Beautiful

Here is my entry for the WEP Apr 2023 challenge – the movie Life Is Beautiful. It is another sci-fi story about the anivid and dessert club and its women members. They live in the 24th century, in a huge city-dome on Mars and meet regularly for sweets and the movie, just like we do. Yrvina, the hostess of the club, works for a Martian company producing anivids (animated videos). When her boss found a cache of old Earth movies, he decided to remake them for the Martians. Yrvina and her friends serve as his test audience.


“Hello, everyone. I brought a guest,” Serena said. “This is Kaley, my new neighbor. She just moved into my building a couple weeks ago.”

Yrvina turned to the door. Beside Serena, stood a thin young woman with a hopeful half-smile and the haunted eyes. Her azure skin and pale pink hair identified her instantly as a refugee from Tarius Destra, one of the clones from their gigantic clone factory. After the astrological disaster that had made that planet uninhabitable, every colony in the galaxy had accepted a quota of survivors, both live-born humans and clones. Mars had too, although Yrvina thought the refugees mostly settled in the other domes. She didn’t hear about any of them arriving in her dome.

“Welcome, Kaley,” she said warmly. “Sit wherever you like.” She waved her hand at the sofas. “Did Serena tell you? We are watching anivids – animated remakes of the old 20th century films from Earth.”

“Yes, she told me. Sounds fascinating,” Kaley said softly. “Animated holo stories from the time long gone. I’m in.”

“And dessert. Don’t forget dessert!” Agar yelled. “Who is bringing dessert today?”

“I have.” Serena brandished a large bakery box before putting it on the sideboard. “Blueberry cupcakes. In honor of my new blue friend.”

Kaley cheeks darkened to indigo. That was how she blushed, Yrvina realized. She was totally charmed by the delicate blue woman. And she adored her unusual clothes – a caftan and bloomer pants in interweaving colors of yellow and turquoise. After the show, she must ask Kaley where she got the ensemble.  

“What are we watching today?” Kaley sat down in the left corner of a sofa. Serena plonked down beside her.

“Something profound, no doubt,” Serena said grumpily. “Yrvina always selects profound vids. I prefer comedies.”      

Yrvina grinned. “The today’s vid is called Life Is Beautiful. It is about a tragic era on Earth, one of their most devastating wars.” She pressed the button on her portable projector, and figures began moving inside the light-beam-encircled holo screen.

“What do you think?” Yrvina asked after the vid ended. She started loading the cupcakes into small bowls to pass to the club members. After a moment’s contemplation, she pressed a button on her drink machine for hot cacao bulbs. The hot cacao would be perfect with cupcakes.

A buzz of low conversation flowed around the room, as the women started their customary after-vid discussion.

“Serena was right. That was profound,” Agar said, serious for once in her life. “I cried in the end. I never cry.”

“I don’t understand those people,” Kaley murmured. “The hero was wonderful, but those military thugs were cruel. Why? Why would they kill some, treat them like dirt, while they celebrated others. How did they choose? They were all the same.” She frowned.

“I think it was different nations,” Serena said, but she sounded doubtful. “Like living in different geographic locations? No that can’t be true. It would be like one Martian dome warring on another. Absurd!”

“Maybe they had different philosophies?” Yrvina pondered aloud. “In the past, people waged wars on one another over that.”

“Philosophies?” Kaley shook her head. “I suppose, those soldiers’ leaders might have been like space pirates, but the pirates kill and destroy for money, not any philosophy. Were there some huge amounts of money involved in that war?”

Yrvina thought back to all the history texts she had read preparing to work on that vid as one of its animators. “I don’t remember,” she said slowly. “There must have been, but the historical accounts all talk about propaganda and the feeling of superiority of one race over another.”

“But they were all the same race,” Kaley persisted. She munched absently on her cupcake. “They even had the same skin color. I would’ve understood if their colors were different. Like ours.”

She stretched out her cerulean hand with its pearlescent nails and turned the palm slowly up and down, as if comparing it with Yrvina’s brown hands and Serena’s white ones. “Or if those terrible soldiers hated clones, like me.”

Suddenly Yrvina couldn’t breathe. Had anyone hated Kaley because she was a clone? But that wasn’t her fault. She didn’t choose how she was born. Yrvina wanted to hurt those theoretical creeps, to tear them to pieces. Nobody should be unkind to Kaley. Yrvina took a deep, shuddering breath to calm down.

Kaley was still talking. “I’m glad I don’t live in those times on Earth. It is much better here and now. I love Mars. Nobody is killing us because we are blue.” Her laughter tinkled. “My life is good here. I’ve got all the citizen benefits. Everybody is kind and friendly. I have a great job – I’m a fashion designer. People come to the boutique to buy my clothes. And everyone tries to say something welcoming.” Tears sparkled under her pink eyelashes.

“Do you miss home?” Yrvina whispered before she could silence her unruly tongue.

“Yes,” Kaley said simply. She didn’t take offense. “I try not to focus on it. It’s gone; no point to get upset. Sometimes, I think if only my creche sisters and brothers had survived that explosion, it would’ve been simply perfect. But I’m making new friends. All the different people of Mars. White skin.” She nodded at Serena. “Brown skin.” She inclined her head towards Yrvine. “And every color in between. My life is beautiful.”

Yrvina forcibly banished her morbid mood. “I’m glad you’re settling in well. Did you design your own clothes?”

“Yes.” Kaley’s lips curled.

“I love it. Could you make me something like that? In red and gold?”

“Of course.” Kaley’s smile was incandescent. “Come to my boutique for the measurements.”

Tagline: Even after a tragedy, life could be beautiful.

Posted in movie, Olga Godim, WEP | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Height of a character

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


In a novel I read recently, the heroine contemplates her height. She is 168 cm tall, and she considers herself short. She is the shortest of her numerous siblings and upset about it.

This little factoid didn’t affect the story, but it had me thinking. I’m 156 cm. I’m objectively short for an adult, and I like it that way. I like being small. For me 168 cm feels pretty tall or at least, average. Why would she feel short?

Obviously, this is a subjective measurement. The character compares herself to other tall people in her life and feels the lack of inches. She compensates with huge heels. I compare myself to almost everyone (almost every adult is taller than I am) and enjoy being the smallest. I hate shoes with heels.

I wonder why the author included this data in her book. Why did she use the precise count? What did she have to prove? The heroine’s height wasn’t relevant to the story. As a writer myself, I never state my protagonists’ heights to this level of accuracy. I might sometimes say something like “small and slender” or “big-boned”, but I’ve never included the exact number of centimeters or kilograms in my fiction and never will. I think it is unneeded in most cases, unless it is a mystery where those centimeters might be a clue. It was definitely extraneous in the aforementioned book – it was a science fiction flick, not a mystery.

Do you include similar information in your stories? Is it important to you? Always? Never? Why?

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My favorite sentences

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


MARCH QUESTION: Have you ever read a line in a novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

MY ANSWER: Yes. One of my favorites is the last sentence of the first paragraph of the first sci-fi novella of Murderbot Diaries series – All Systems Red by Martha Wells. It says:

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.”  

I think I fell in love with that story then and there. This short sentence introduces the protagonist’s tone and attitude perfectly. I read it and felt deeply envious. My love affair with the series continues to this day, after five novellas and one novel. And I have to confess that after all this time, the hero is still a failure as a killing machine. He kills bad guys, yes, but he does it only to help those in need. He is a knight in disguise, and I adore him.

Another favorite of mine is Jayne Castle – the first sentence of her futuristic romance After Dark. It says:

“If it had not been horribly obvious that Chester Brady was already dead, Lydia Smith might have strangled him herself.”

This sentence alone starts the plot galloping. On the first page, in the first paragraph, the readers are hooked. They want to know who Lydia Smith is, who Chester Brady was (poor schmuck), and why he was murdered. And by whom. No backstory. No info damp. The author starts the action rolling with her first line. Great intro to a great series I’m still reading to this day. I think there are a dozen books by now. I wish I could write like that: pithy and attention-grabbing right off the bat.  

Interesting that both my examples come from genre books. In general, genre writers are not overly concerned with beautiful prose. Instead, genre fiction mostly relies on plot and characters to attract readership. But those two books stood the test of time for me.

What about you? Did you read those books? What hooks you? Genre? Author? Expressions? What makes you wish you had written such a wonderful line yourself?

Posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

WEP Feb 2023 – Gone with the Wind

This year, all the WEP challenges will be about movies. It was a test of my ingenuity to combine speculative fiction – my preferred genre – with various well-known movies of the 20th century. But I’ve done it. I wrote a series of stories (again) about a group of women living on Mars 300 years from now. They live inside huge, transparent sealed domes – Martian cities – where the air they breathe needs to be produced artificially. Each dome also has a gravity generator, as the Martian gravity is much lower than the Earth gravity, and that would be damaging to the citizen’s health.   What would the future Martians  think about the movies we watch and love today? Here is my entry into the WEP Feb 2023 challenge, Gone with the Wind.  


“Today, we’ll do something different,” Yrvina announced. She stood with her back to the holovid screen, dull and lifeless at the moment. In front of her, her friends, the members of their anivid and dessert club, gazed at her expectantly. As always, they arranged themselves on two sofas, leaving her favorite armchair for her. They all loved anivids and met regularly to watch the shows, but she was the only professional among them. As a vid animator, she worked for a company producing anivids – the animated vids people loved on Mars.  

“My boss found a cache of old Earth films,” she continued. “From the 20th and the 21st centuries.”

“Three hundred years ago?” Serena asked in surprise. “You want us to watch something from a distant past?” Her bafflement reflected in the faces of their other friends.

“No. That would be impossible,” Yrvina said. “The technology is different. We’re remaking them into anivids for the local viewing. With some slight changes, of course, to generate more comprehensible stories for the Martians. But I wonder if you would like them anyway. The first vid I selected is the oldest. We’ll talk after the viewing. It is called Gone with the Wind.”

“Fine. Let’s watch it then,” Serena said with a smile. “What is for dessert today? Who is providing dessert?”

“I am. Berry mousse.” Yrvina couldn’t conceal her grin at the covetous groans off the sofas.

“Mousse, yum.” Nima sighed dreamily.

“Could we eat now, before the vid?” Serena suggested. “I’m hungry.” She batted her eyelashes, trying to project a starving image, but only succeeded in making everyone laugh.  

“No,” Yrvina said heartlessly. “But we’ll eat it after, to sweeten our post-vid discussion.” She glanced at Verise, who usually staged mutinies over desserts, but Verise seemed deep inside her own head, her lips tight and her expression glum, as if she didn’t hear about the mousse. Strange. Yrvina would have to find out what was up with Verise after the vid.

With her projector in hands, she turned to the holo screen and pressed the button. Animated figures sprang up on the screen in their colorful costumes, whirling inside the holo beams. Yrvina plopped down into her chair. She wasn’t sure she liked this vid. She definitely disliked the heroine, but maybe her friends would have other ideas.

“What do you think?” Yrvina asked after the screen winked out. She brought in a tray of mousse cups. The girls grabbed the delicate cups, their spoons working assiduously. Serena appropriated two cups and moaned in bliss.

Verise took a cup too, but she stared at it as if she didn’t know what to do with her spoon. She seemed ready to cry. Yrvina’s concern deepened. What was happening with her friend? Before she could say anything, Serena licked the lilac mousse off her spoon and lifted it up to talk.

“That Scarlet was a totally unpleasant woman,” Serena said. “She treated everyone dismally, even the guy who loved her. I think she was in the wrong line of work. She shouldn’t have been responsible for building or supplies. She doesn’t care about other people, only about sex. She should’ve been a licensed sex therapist. She would’ve been much happier. Her school counselor should’ve spotted it when she was in her teens.”

“I don’t think they had school counselors in those days,” Yrvina said doubtfully. “Or licensed sex therapists.”

“You’re kidding,” Serena said flatly. “How could people find their optimum professions without school counselors?”

Yrvina shrugged. “Maybe it wasn’t a concern then and there,” she murmured weakly.

“I have another question,” Nima said. “How do you go with the wind? What does it mean Gone with the Wind?”

“Oh, I know that one,” Yrvina said. “Wind is an air movement. Like a draft. It could only happen on a planet with a breathable atmosphere. Winds could be so powerful they could blow a house away.”

“Yuck,” Nima said.

“Fortunately, we don’t have winds under the domes.”

“Yeah, that would be a disaster inside a dome,” Serena said. “A draft would mean the dome has cracked and is leaking air.” She shuddered dramatically.

“A nightmarish possibility,” Yrvina agreed.

After some more heated discussion, everybody headed home. Verise was the last one, and she lingered.

“What’s wrong, Verise?” Gently, Yrvina steered her friend back into the screening room and sat on the sofa beside her.

Verise sighed. “It’s my partner Tollan. He’s gone. Like Rhett. Gone with the wind. As if our dome indeed developed a crack, and the draft blew him away.” She snorted without humor.

“Gone where? Another dome?”

“He decided he wanted a wind on his face. Wanted to live on a planet. He emigrated to that new colony in the Polaris system. Last week. He wanted to be a farmer. Why? I don’t understand. I miss him. He said the air is artificial here, under a Mars dome, but it is clean, the temperature and moisture level are perfect for humans. No bugs. No wind. No dirt.” She sobbed and turned away, to stare out the window at the peaceful dome scenery.

“Maybe you should consider going with him?”

“I don’t want to,” Verise wailed. “I’m a citizen of Mars, with full benefits. Why would I go to some non-terraformed planet? To do what? Dig in the dirt? I have a respectable job here – a supervisor at a recycling plant. What would I do there? They don’t have recycling plants. They don’t have anything.” Angrily, she wiped the tears off her face with her fingers.   

“Maybe love is more important than recycling plants,” Yrvina said quietly. “I would’ve gone with someone I loved.”

Verise shook her head stubbornly. “If he loved me, he would’ve stayed, not whip away across the galaxy.” She sniffled and visibly composed herself. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have poured my troubles on your head. You’re a great friend, Yrvina. I should go.”

Yrvina watched the door close behind Verise. “Maybe he left because you didn’t love him enough. Like Rhett,” she whispered, although nobody could hear her now.                  

Tagline: What do Martian women of the 24th century think of a classic love movie from three hundred year ago.

Posted in movie, Olga Godim, WEP | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

I make book covers

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


FEBRUARY QUESTION: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

MY ANSWER: I had three of my novels published by small publishers. It was several years ago, and they are all out of print now, but at the time, I was not too happy with the covers the publishers provided. And I had very little input for those covers, except a fact sheet, which outlined my protagonists’ physical attributes, the story locations, genres, etc. Maybe that’s why I started learning to create my own covers. I like the process and the results. If I ever republish my novels as an indie, they will all have covers made by me. Even if my covers are not going to be perfect, at least I won’t be able to blame any artist for their flawed images. All the imagery would be my own choices.

Right now, my 8 stories on have covers I’ve made, and I’m proud of them all. You could see them here.

Also, in the past, wattpad had a forum (unfortunately, wattpad closed down the forum a few years ago). Many wattpad writers requested covers for their stories on that forum, and I made a few of them. You could see my covers for the other wattpad writers here.

Although I do not consider myself an artist, for me, making book covers is a creative process. It is like creating collages on my PC. I have a collection of images from free websites, like Pixabay, and I combine them (sometimes up to a dozen different images in one cover) using free software. Most of my covers belong to the speculative fiction genre. If you write in one of the sub-genres of speculative fiction, I might be able to make you a cover too.

What is your approach to the problem of book covers for your books?   

Posted in book cover, Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, wattpad, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Reading stats

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


JANUARY QUESTION: Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year?

MY ANSWER: I think my 2022 word of the year was READ. I read a lot. Perhaps, this year, my word should be WRITE. I want to write more.


In compliance with this month’s question, I think it is time to look back on my reading during the previous year. Recently, I saw a statistical report that an average American reads 13 books a year. A discouraging count. I guess an average Canadian (I’m Canadian) would boast a similar number. But what does a statistical average mean?

Image by Art_Dreams from Pixabay

In mathematical terms, it means that in a pool of 10 people, if nine of them read 1 book a year, and the tenth one read 121 books during the same year, the average would come to 13. To no one’s surprise, I’m the number 10 in this equation. I think most writers are. We need to read in order to write well. Furthermore, personally, I need to read in order to feel comfortable. If I don’t have a pile of books ready for me on my dresser every day of the week, I get antsy. I need to read less than I need to breathe, but only a little.

According to the stats page of my GoodReads account, I’ve read 140 books during the year 2022. That would translate to approximately one book every 2.6 days. Most of my reading comes in two genres: speculative fiction and romance. In general, I’m not a speedy reader, but my 2021 stats show an even higher figure – 166. And those numbers are only new reads. They don’t include re-reads of the old favorites, which I regularly do.

What about you? Do you keep track of your reading? Are your personal reading statistics important to you? Care to share the numbers? What genres are the most common in your reading? Tell me in the comments.   

Posted in Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Happy New Year

Image by Alan Frijns from Pixabay
Posted in Olga Godim, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

War is horror

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


As the war Russia unleashed against Ukraine rages on, my attention turned to the writers who wrote about war. Some of them glorified military conflicts, even considered it necessary in some cases. Maybe, in a war against aggression, but even so, I can’t sympathize with those writers. There is no grandeur in any war, no laurels in victory, just death, pain, and destruction. Other writers are deeply critical of any war and expose it for what it is: inexcusable horror. I have the deepest respect for such critics. I want to share a few of their quotes with my readers.

The painting I used for the quotes is called The Apotheosis of War. It was created in 1871 by the Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin (1842 – 1904). Educated as an officer from an early age, Vereshchagin served in several wars Russia conducted in Asia in those times. He also studied painting and received wide recognition as an artist in both Russia and Europe. Many of his paintings were intensely anti-war. He traveled a lot through Asia and Europe and exhibited extensively.

Some of his paintings, like the one you see in this post, caused acute controversy. Unlike some of the war artists of his generation, whose battle pieces often looked like parades, Vereshchagin graphically depicted the devastation of war and its aftermath. He also wrote about war. As a result, the top brass of many armies was furious with him.

There are stories circulating about this particular painting. In 1882, German marshal Helmuth Moltke visited Vereshchagin’s exhibition in Berlin. The artist brought Moltke to his painting The Apotheosis of War. The marshal got so angry he issued the order which forbade German soldiers to visit the exhibit and see the painting. The Austrian war minister did the same a year before, during Vereshchagin’s 1881 exhibition in Vienna.

In Russia, a ban on exhibitions of Vereshchagin’s works was also in effect on and off, as well as a ban on reproductions of his paintings in books and periodicals. The authorities accused the artist of slandering the Russian army. But the public loved him. His sensational and profoundly honest imagery attracted many who had never been interested in art before.

Ironically, the artist who abhorred war died of it. During the Russo-Japanese War (1904 – 1905), Admiral Makarov invited Vereshchagin to travel aboard his flagship, Petropavlovsk. On April 13, 1904, Petropavlovsk struck two Japanese mines and sank. Most of her crew, including both the admiral and Vereshchagin, were killed during the explosion or drowned.

What do you think about this painting? Do you know other powerful quotes about war? Tell me in the comments.

Posted in art, Insecure Writer's Support Group, Olga Godim, Writing | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

WEP Dec 2022 – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

This is the last 2022 WEP story about Altenay, the Finder – my entry for the WEP Dec 2022 challenge The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.


Altenay gripped the teacup in her cramping fingers. She was so angry her hands shook, while a peaceful teahouse swirled with its usual activities. The waiters carried trays of teas and sweets. Cigar smoke and the scents of spices mixed in the air. Around the low tables, various-sized groups talked and laughed. Only she was alone in the teahouse.

That freaking pirate had had the gull to kidnap her! She had escaped him in the bazaar and skulked around the huge metropolis for an hour before landing in this cheerful place. The scoundrel would never find her here, but his brazen effrontery still irked her.  

He had stopped the coastal caravel she had taken home from one of her Finding jobs. He had demanded the caravel’s captain gave up the Finder he was carrying. Or else.

Of course, the captain had given her up, even though he apologized. Much use she had for his empty apology. He had sailed away then, the lout, leaving her alone with a shipful of cutthroats and their crazy captain. Who had then proceeded to ask her to Find him his beloved. Gah!

He didn’t have to kidnap her. He could’ve come into the front door of her office, like normal people did, and she would’ve taken his job. The accursed buccaneer!

Altenay sipped her tea and pulled out a small portrait, a little bigger than her palm, out of her satchel. She gazed at the young woman in the picture. The pretty girl stood half-turned in a doorway, her dark braids flowing down to her waist, her wide smile blazing in the sunlight.

“The first time ever I saw her face, I knew I needed to find her. I would do anything for her,” the blasted pirate had said. His weathered cheeks didn’t show any blush, not under all that beard, but his ears turned pink. “You’re a Finder. Find her for me, and I’ll pay you uncounted riches.”

Altenay winced remembering that conversation in the captain’s cabin. She remembered asking him where he got the picture. “It was loot,” he replied shamelessly and then locked her in his cabin ‘for her own safety.’

Altenay had had no choice but to comply with his wishes. She had unfurled her Finder magic, and it beckoned her to this sprawling city. Fortunately, she had been able to escape after they disembarked. The bustle of the port aided her dash for freedom.

She still had her money—the fee from her previous job. To her surprise, the deuced pirate hadn’t confiscated it. She could buy a berth on one of the coastal ships heading towards her hometown. She could wear a disguise, buy a different tubeteika in the bazaar, so the infernal pirate would never grab her again. But should she? Or should she find that woman first? Uncertain of the best course, she gazed at the portrait and munched her baklava.

Her Finder magic was clearly defined in the city, nothing like the vague dispersed yearning it had been at sea. Its pull was unmistakable, its direction unambiguous. What would she find at the end of that magic arrow? Would it be the previous owner of the painting? Or the artist who painted it? Or the girl who posed for the painting? What would she say if she did find the girl?

Altenay’s magic thrummed in her head, straining to zero in on its target, like a young hound before a hunt. Fine! She would do it. She mumbled a curse, left her unfinished tea, and stomped out of the teahouse. It wouldn’t take her much time. The razor-sharp edges of her magical pointer glinted: her quarry was close. Afterwards, she would go home.       

It took her another couple hours of wandering the twisting narrow streets, mostly uphill under the scorching sun. She was hot, tired, and irritated with herself, when finally, her magic zoomed in on the door of a small white house, surrounded by orange trees.

Altenay knocked. The woman who opened the door was the same one as the painting, but older, about Altenay’s age, paler, and not smiling. Her face was not as fresh as in the painting, but still lovely. She frowned at Altenay.

“Hi,” Altenay said. “I’m a Finder. Someone asked me to Find you from this portrait.” She extracted the portrait from her satchel.

The woman stared at the portrait. “My father painted it,” she said at last. “He sold it a few years back. I didn’t think I would ever see it again. Some foreigner bought it. Why was he looking for me? If he wanted another painting by my father… He died a few months ago.” Her face crimpled momentarily, but she took a deep breath and brought herself under control.

“I don’t think it was the same person,” Altenay said. “It was a pirate.”

The woman’s eyes rounded, and her lips opened, but no sound emerged.

“I’ll tell you the whole story. Can I come in? I’m Altenay.”

“I’m Gisele.” Gisele nodded and stepped back.

After Altenay told her story, Gisele commiserated with her. “That pirate was dastardly. Kidnapping you! The bounder!”

“Yes,” Altenay agreed. “And the caravel’s captain too. Giving me to the pirates as if I was… a prize.”

“He was trying to save his ship and his other passengers.”

“I know.” Altenay sighed. She couldn’t really blame the caravel’s captain.  

“Why did you seek me out after you escaped?”

“My magic likes to finish its searches.” Altenay’s lips twitched.

“Ah,” said Gisele. “It’s getting late. You should spend the night here. I’ll help you get on a ship home tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you,” Altenay said gratefully. “What are you going to do about that effing pirate? He did say he fell in love with you. He might hire another Finder. Do you have other family?”

Gisele shook her head. “I have nothing left here. Father died. My husband… is not worth talking about. He is not in the picture anymore. All I’ve left are my father’s paintings. Maybe I should seek out that pirate of yours.”

“The creep,” Altenay said with feeling.

“Yeah.” Gisele snorted. “But maybe he could change. He did say he would do anything for me. He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No. He didn’t allow any of his pirates near me. But I resent being kidnapped. On principle.”

“Sure,” Gisele said. “Maybe he would give up pirating for me and start making charter trips up and down the coast.”

Altenay sniggered. “You think?”

“I don’t know. He should pay you for kidnapping anyway. Do you want one of my father’s paintings as payment? Some of them are quite valuable. And it all happened because of me. Sort-of.”

“Maybe. I’ll look at them tomorrow morning, before I leave for the port.”

“Before we leave,” Gisele said firmly. “I’ll help you get away. You should wear my clothes, so the pirates wouldn’t recognize you. If they are still searching. After your ship sails, I might look for that jerk of a pirate. What is his barque’s name?”    

Gorgeous Girl,” Altenay said. “He said he renamed it after he got your portrait. It was Gorgeous Gorgon before.”

“Maybe he’ll rename it again, into Gorgeous Gisele,” Gisele mused.    

Tagline: Kidnapped by a pirate, the Finder can’t resist the pull of her magic.

Posted in Fantasy, Olga Godim, WEP | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments